By: Colleen Dunn


I’m Camp’s new Assistant Program Director!  It has been a fun ride so far, hanging out with the gang on camp, and channeling my inner Mo-T for all the great retreats we have here.  First and foremost, I would like to address the unique name of this blog – “Cogitations by Colleen.”

Cogitation derives from the Latin word cogitatio, meaning “A serious thought; a carefully considered reflection.”

A few weeks back we attended the Catholic Charities Awards Dinner as a staff.  Throughout the evening men and women from our Diocese were honored for all of their hard work and selfless service to Christ’s mission to help the Church.

The crew enjoying the wonderful Catholic Charities dinner!

It just so happened we spent that day in Madison at an American Camp Association state meeting.  So, after the meeting, we stopped at a nearby Panera to do a quick change from our camp gear to our classy dinner attire.  After suiting up, we raced to the Marriott, where we entered a fancy room with familiar faces – those we have seen around Camp Gray – and many others.  After sitting down at the beautifully decorated table we were thinking to ourselves… we aren’t at Camp anymore; this is not like eating in the Pavilion (aka: the Pav)!  We worked our way through a line of forks, without spilling on the elegant table cloth.  Indeed it was clear, we were not in the Pav anymore.

Since meals at Camp during the summer are drastically different, it was that evening that inspired this cogitation.  Etiquette in the Pav goes in a different direction.  Thanks to our dining experts here at Camp Gray, we have compiled a list to show how meals take place at Camp Gray, so you can see how different they are from meals at classy awards charity banquets.

1. Family style – there are dishes of food, forks, napkins, pitchers of red drink flying everywhere – no need to worry how to pass it, just get it to where it needs to go!  Family style allows for easy access to all the delicious food.

2. “You kill it, you fill it.” – Since we have this awesome family style method, if you are responsible for taking the last bit of food from a bowl, you’re asked to return to the kitchen for the re-fill.

3. Forks are optional… and as a matter of fact, so are hands!

4. We have a clean plate policy here at Camp Gray.  Sometimes the best way to clean your plate is by licking the excess food away.  Here in the Pav it is acceptable to lick your plate to ensure your cabin’s table is the fastest to clean up.

5. We’re table Number 1!  Loud noises are often encouraged – cheering for your cabin to win table number 1 at the top of your lungs, banging on tables with cups, and singing pop song hits!  (ie: Five Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”)

We look for every opportunity we can to do fun and crazy things at Camp Gray, and we don’t stop even at the meals!

For a more in-depth look at Camp Gray meals, check out this video from a meal during Summer Camp!

Thanks for tuning in to the first edition of Cogitations by Colleen!